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Health & Pregnancy

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Study Links Caffeine to Miscarriage

2 Cups of Coffee May Double Risk

Caffeine and Miscarriage continued...

But Signorello says there were not enough women in the study who did not change their caffeine consumption to conclude that caffeine was a risk factor in the miscarriage.

And the women who consumed the most caffeine were also more likely to have other risk factors for miscarriage, including being over 35 years old, having a history of miscarriage, having no morning sickness symptoms, and smoking and drinking alcohol.

Signorello is a researcher and epidemiologist with the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center and the International Epidemiology Institute in Rockville, Md.

"These women were very different from people who didn't consume caffeine, and they were different in all the ways that are associated with miscarriage," she tells WebMD.

Most Miscarriages Unavoidable

Kaiser Permanente Director of Women's Health Tracy Flanagan, MD, tells WebMD that she does discuss limiting caffeine with her pregnant patients.

She says that other than not smoking and avoiding drugs and alcohol, there are few lifestyle interventions that have been shown to affect miscarriage risk.

"The fact is, the vast majority of pregnancies that miscarry do so because of chromosomal abnormalities," she says. "From a clinician's standpoint, it is nice to be able to tell a patient that limiting caffeine just may positively impact their pregnancy."

It is a message that financial planner Tammy Plotkin-Oren took to heart after her first pregnancy ended in a miscarriage.

"I was a big coffee drinker, but I went totally cold turkey when I got pregnant again," she says.

Now the mother of three young girls, Plotkin-Oren says she has no idea if drinking coffee contributed to her miscarriage.

"For me, giving up caffeine was a no-brainer," she says. "I knew it was something I needed to stop during pregnancy. Whether or not it made a difference, I don't know."

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